The Annual Kelaniya Duruthu Perahera at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara will be held on 9, 10 and 11 January.
The historic Kelaniya Duruthu Maha Perahera had its origins in the year 1927, due largely to the efforts of that grate Philanthropist Don Walter Wijewardene, son of Helena Wijewardene Lamathani.
This religious cultural pageant has evolved over the years to become the country’s most elaborate and grandest low country pageant in its category.
Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya is the most sacred temple in the Western Province of Sri Lanka since Lord Buddha’s sojourn here during his third historic visit to Sri Lanka. It celebrates this event annually during Duruthu Poya in January by conducting a historic, traditional and cultural pageant, the ‘Kelani Perahera’.
Whilst the Kelani Perahera commemorates the religious significance of Lord Buddha’s visit, it also supports and revives Sri Lanka’s cultural traditions of drummers, dancers, singers, caparisoned elephants and colourful parades, which have always made this event a night of all nights.
Meticulous attention has been paid to all details with the objective of perpetuating the traditional rites, ritual and customs long associated with this magnificent pageant.
The Perahera will commence with the handing over the relic casket to Chief Basnayake Nilame, Dhammika Attygalle by the Viharadhipathi, Ven. Professor Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkita Nayake Thero. This time the perahera is organised under the guidance of Dayaka Sabha President Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
There are three Devala Peraheras followed after the main Sacred Relics Perahera. They are Lord Vibishana, Lord Vishnu and Lord Kataragama. The Basnayake Nilames of the respective Devala Peraheras are Lalith Hapangama, Jayaraja Chandrasekera and Samantha Perera.
The Perahera will commence at 8 p.m. This year too a special effort is being made to focus on tourists eager to acquaint themselves with the majesty and splendour of Sri Lanka’s cultural facets such as this historic Perahera. There will be a special enclosure for tourists to view the Perahera in association with the Sri Lanka Tourist Board.
During the Duruthu Festival, the illumination of the Kelaniya Rajamaha Vihara premises will be sponsored by Thilakawardene Textiles, Kiribathgoda.